Time-Saving Tools for Plumbing Time-Saving Tools for Plumbing

At some point in our lives, we've all had to deal with a plumbing problem in our home. From leaky faucets and clogged toilets to dripping pipes, it's simply unavoidable. But calling a local plumber can be time-consuming—not to mention very expensive. We can, however, avoid the time delay if we have the proper tools on hand to fix the problem ourselves. The list below includes the tools you'll need to help save time (as well as money) to fix the most common plumbing repairs. Buy a toolbox to keep your tools together and consider it your time-saving plumbing tool kit.

1. Pipe Wrench

Pipe wrenches are worth their weight in gold. These heavy wrenches are used to tighten and loosen threaded nuts, fittings, and pipe. They have adjustable jaws and serrated teeth that help the wrench grip the part. Sometimes, it is necessary to grip one piece and turn another. For this reason, have two pairs ready: a set of 10-inch and a set of 14-inch.

2. Propane Torch

A propane torch.

A propane torch is a must if you have to sweat copper pipe and fittings. Buy a torch that's equipped with a self-igniting torch head. It's much more easier to light than using matches or a striker. Just squeeze the trigger and you're ready to go to work.

3. Channellock Pliers

Channellock or tongue-and-groove pliers are an essential for any job around the home and especially for plumbing. Channellocks can help twist, hold, tighten or loosen, and grab. Have two sizes handy: a set of 10-inch and a set of 12-inch pliers.

4. Hacksaw

A hacksaw is used to cut through plastic and metal pipe are are particularly handy for cutting off stubborn screws or bolts. Be sure to stock up on blades designed for cutting metal.

5. Basin Wrench

A basin wrench against a white background.

There is no other tool on the planet that can do what a basin wrench does. This tool will save so much time when it comes to loosening and tightening nuts on a sink faucet. A basin wrench has a long shaft and a jaw that swivels, and this tool can reach up in the tight, narrow space needed to grab onto the nuts.

6. Plunger

A plunger is any plumber's best friend and is the first line of defense for unclogging sinks, toilets, showers, and drains. The plunger works to vacuum the clog out instead of pushing it deeper. Seal the rubber cup around the drain and pull upward. Most simple clogs will be cleared this way. If the plunger won't do the trick, then use a plumber's snake or auger, listed below.

7. Plumbers Tape

Plumbers tape is used around threaded fittings to help prevent leaks. The lubricated tape is wrapped around threads on pipes and fittings to help seal the joints together.

8. Plumber's Snake

Someone using a plumbers snake in a tub.

This tool is also called a hand auger, and is a hand-cranked tool used to unclog drains. It's perfect for when a plunger doesn't cut it. The plumber's snake has a flexible steel cable that's typically 25 feet long and is very efficient at clearing drain lines.

9. Metal File

The metal file is used to remove burrs on cut pipe or smooth out rough edges. Have two files in your kit: a rat-tail file which is tapered and round, and a half round file, which has surfaces that are both round and flat.

10. Tubing Cutter

A hacksaw works great for cutting PVC and plastic pile, however, the quickest and cleanest way to cut copper pipe is to use a tubing cutter. Buy a standard-size tubing cutter and for tight spaces, pick up a close-quarter mini-cutter.

11. Adjustable Wrench

A adjustable wrench.

An adjustable wrench will come in handy when you run into hexagonal nuts. These six-sided nuts are found on supply lines, compression fittings, and other plumbing parts. Get two sizes of an adjustable wrench: 10-inch and 6-inch.

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